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Ann Bishop to finish her junior year in New Zealand school

Tuesday, June 18, 2002

Editor's note:

Three area students will be leaving Southeast Missouri to study abroad and learn about other cultures. The students -- Rebecca Knight and Anna Bishop, both of Jackson, Mo., and Dane Lincoln of Cape Girardeau, are participating in an exchange program directed by Rotary International.

All will spend a year abroad: Lincoln in France, Bishop in New Zealand, Knight in Belgium. This week you meet Bishop, as she talks about her trip, what she hopes to learn and what she'll miss most about the states. Next week, you'll be introduced to Knight.

In the fall, the students will be writing about their experiences abroad, and their letters will be published in the Southeast Missourian.

By Laura Johnston

Southeast Missourian

Anna Bishop wants to live abroad so she'll have a better understanding of how other cultures view the United States. She expects she'll be surprised by what she learns during her time as an exchange student in the Rotary International program.

Bishop will be living in New Zealand for 11 months beginning in August, though she doesn't know exactly where just yet. That detail comes soon.

The nearly 16-year-old Jackson, Mo., student will finish her junior year in New Zealand and start part of her senior year during her time in the year-round schools down under.

She's most excited about spending time in another school in another country but less enthused about the 20-hour flight. "I'm not even sure what I'm going to do -- maybe take a few books and sleep through half of it."

Though she'll be crossing the international dateline, she won't have any language barrier, and that was a huge consideration for Bishop.

"You can choose the country you want to go to," she said. Australia was her first choice; New Zealand a close second. "It's English-speaking and that's what I wanted."

She's interested in the outdoor activities like hiking and fishing that New Zealand has to offer.

The year spent abroad doesn't count for her high school credits at home, but Bishop expects to have enough classes that she can graduate without spending another year in high school here. She's also taking correspondence classes at the University of Missouri-Columbia to get all the credits required.

Her older sister, Molly, spent some time in Sweden as an exchange student so she has some idea about what to expect. She's packing lightly and plans to buy most of her clothes once she arrives.

She knows that she's going to represent Rotary clubs and to serve as an ambassador of sorts. She also knows she'll be attending one high school but living with three different families during her stay.

"I'm excited about leaving," she said. "I already miss my friends because I hang out with them." She knows she'll miss her family, too, but she can phone and e-mail if she gets homesick.

"If you have any problems, you have your own counselor there," she said. "I want to go and have fun and not worry about everything."

To help get herself prepared, she's taking plenty of photographs and compiling an address book so she can write to family and friends.

Rotary encourages the students to bring photos of their families, homes, friends and community when they travel abroad. The photos help start conversations with new host families and classmates in the other countries.

ljohnston@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 126


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